Letters 03-02-2015

American Exceptualism Rudy Giuliani was espousing his opinion to Fox News that Barack Obama did not love America and didn’t brag enough about “American Exceptionalism.”

Fur Is Not Chic When my 25-pound dog stepped in a toothed steel leg hold trap a few ft off the trail, I learned how “unchic” fur is. I had to carry her out two miles to get to a vet.

Which Is More Dangerous? Just a couple of thoughts I had in response to the letters by Gordon Lee Dean and Jarin Weber in the Feb. 23 issue. Mr. Dean claims that there have been zero deaths from the measles in the past ten years.

Real Action on Climate In “Climate Madness” in the Feb. 9 issue, the writer points out that scientists are all but unanimous and that large numbers of people agree: global warming poses a threat to future generations.

Real Science Wolfgang Pauli, the Nobel Prize winning Austrian-born theoretical physicist, was known not only for his work in postulating the existence of the neutrino but feared for his razor-edged humor.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Hip Hop honors, Celebrate De La Soul, Cypress Hill

Modern Rock Kristi Kates VH1’s Hip Hop Honors show is now set to air on October 7, with comedian/actor host Tracy Morgan, and will recognize (appropriately) five acts at this year’s fifth annual ceremony. Honored for their “significant contributions to hip hop culture, and for helping to elevate hip hop into a truly global phenomenon” will be De La Soul, Too $hort, Slick Rick, Naughty by Nature, and Cypress Hill; fans can also check online through VH1 for a dedicated Hip Hop Honors website, on the way soon...
Monday, September 8, 2008

Ben Folds finds creative way to combat album leak

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Ben Folds’ latest album, Way to Normal, is set to hit stores on September 30 - but, to no one’s surprise, tracks from the new, yet-to-be-released album leaked on the internet in July. At least, fans thought they found leaked tracks from the new album - what they really found were tracks leaked by Folds himself. In response to the usual round of borrowed rough tracks and other methods of setting songs loose before their time, Folds purposefully went into the studio in early July and recorded fake versions of a half-dozen songs in one quick late-night studio session, and then “let” the fake songs be “leaked” along with a few of the real songs slated for the upcoming album. Folds calls the experiment part of “remembering how to just have fun” recording music, and figures that those who get the joke will get it, and those who don’t simply won’t...
Monday, September 1, 2008

Who do our presidential hopefuls rock out to?

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Potential Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain took the time to each reveal their ten favorite songs to Blender Magazine recently, and it’s a fairly telling look at the two men and their differences. Among Obama’s songs of choice were upbeat tracks by The Fugees (“Ready or Not”), will.i.am (“Yes We Can”) and U2 (“City of Blinding Lights”), plus classics by Aretha Franklin (“Think”), and The Rolling Stones (“Gimme Shelter”); Obama also used another U2 song, “Beautiful Day,” when recently announcing Senator Biden as his pick for VP running mate. Meanwhile, McCain’s top tunes included Roy Orbison (“Blue Bayou”), Neil Diamond (“Sweet Caroline”), two numbers by late ‘70s Swedish dance-popsters ABBA, and the portentously titled “If We Make it Through December” by country-twang singer Merle Haggard...
Monday, August 25, 2008

50 is the new 30 to queen of pop Madonna

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Turning 50? That means nothing to Madonna - well, except for the fact that she probably got a party and some pretty cool gifts. The ageless pop star just celebrated her 50th, and didn‘t waste any time getting back to work after her Guy Ritchie-helmed birthday celebration; she‘s in the middle of last-minute preparations for her world tour, which is set to kick off in the UK on August 23rd. The world‘s most successful female recording artist - whose worth with Ritchie is estimated at around $600 million - will finally be making a tour stop in her hometown of Detroit on November 18th, as well as several shows in her adopted hometown of New York City on October 7th, 11th, and 12th. The tour will take Maddie through most of Western Europe until she returns to U.S. shores on October 4th; she‘ll stay in the U.S. and Canada until she wraps the tour up with two Mexican dates the end of November...
Monday, August 18, 2008

Beijing & you rock with Free Olympic Music

Modern Rock Kristi Kates In celebration of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, Ultra Records has set up eight of their artists to participate in a new music/art project in cooperation with Coca-Cola. Electronic musicians Tiesto, Kaskade, Benny Benassi, Serge Devant, Jay-J, JES, Lucas Prata, and Cezar have all created a song based upon a provided “Olympic Spirit” theme, and each musician was then teamed up with a Chinese graphic artist who designed artwork to coordinate on classic Coca-Cola soda bottles. You can check out all of the artwork and download the songs for free online at www.coca-cola.com/we8... and nope, there’s no catch, except that Ultra hopes this cultural/artistic exchange will help promote the global Olympic spirit...
Monday, August 11, 2008

Lollapalooza rocks 225, 000 People in Chicago

Modern Rock Kristi Kates And we thought 40,000 people at the Rothbury fest was a lot. Chicago’s Grant Park was seriously rocked last weekend with the latest edition of Lollapalooza, the giant annual music festival that was sold-out this year, and that played host to headliners Wilco, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, The Raconteurs, Nine Inch Nails, and Kanye West. Almost a quarter-million people braved the 90-degree temps, eight stages, and super-dense crowds to check out all of these bands and over 100 more, including additional sets from the likes of Jamie Lidell, Lupe Fiasco, Battles, Louis XIV, Duffy, Booka Shade, The Gutter Twins, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Flogging Molly, The National, DeVotchKa, The Whigs, and sooo many more. Lolla also offered food, beverage, t-shirt, environmental, vote-info, and, yes, Obama booths, and recycling bins and free water were both available throughout the park. All three days were mostly without incident with the exception of the Rage Against the Machine set on Saturday night, during which hundreds of ticketless fans stormed the fences from outside the park, causing injuries and starting a near-riot until Chicago police on horseback restored order. Check back for our full Lollapalooza report complete with photos from on-site in the Express Labor Day issue...
Blur’s Damon Albarn and cohort Jamie Hewlett - the duo behind Gorillaz - have settled on their focus for their next project, which they’ve dubbed Carousel. It’s no quick deal, either - Albarn has already written around 70 songs for what they say will be both a film and stage project that’ll be “bigger and more difficult” than previous efforts. Staged much like a film with several narrative stories, it will of course be set to music, and will be executed in several different styles, including live action and animation. No word yet on when you’ll be able to check out Carousel for yourself, but we’ll keep you updated...
Monday, August 4, 2008

Musicians make motivating tunes for Olympic athletes

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Pack up your city bags and gas up the car (gulp) - it’s almost time for this summer’s Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago, a road trip that tons of Northern music fans look forward to, and one that’s sure to be a hit again this year.

Lolla’s strengths have, to date, really been in the smaller, hipster acts, although they did manage to snag both Radiohead and The Raconteurs as the highlight headliners this year. The other headliners include Wilco, the overrated Rage Against the Machine, and the troublesome Kanye West, who hopefully won’t repeat his prima-donna antics from Bonnaroo, via which he refused to play until the early morning hours - sorry, Kanye, that’ll be an impossibility in Chicago due to city noise ordinances, so you’ll have to behave yourself.
Monday, July 28, 2008

What to expect at 2008‘s Lallapalooza Fest

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Pack up your city bags and gas up the car (gulp) - it’s almost time for this summer’s Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago, a road trip that tons of Northern music fans look forward to, and one that’s sure to be a hit again this year.

Lolla’s strengths have, to date, really been in the smaller, hipster acts, although they did manage to snag both Radiohead and The Raconteurs as the highlight headliners this year. The other headliners include Wilco, the overrated Rage Against the Machine, and the troublesome Kanye West, who hopefully won’t repeat his prima-donna antics from Bonnaroo, via which he refused to play until the early morning hours - sorry, Kanye, that’ll be an impossibility in Chicago due to city noise ordinances, so you’ll have to behave yourself.
Monday, July 21, 2008

Elvis Costello makes a :Spectacle of himself

Modern Rock Legendary singer-songwriter Elvis Costello is the host for a new TV variety show called Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... which will feature Costello - surprise! - conversing with various guest stars and also collaborating with his musical guests. Thirteen programs in all are planned for the first run of the show, which is being produced in a cooperation between the UK’s Channel 4, Canada’s CTV, and the U.S.’s own Sundance Channel. Early confirmed guests so far include Tony Bennett, Lou Reed, Elton John, and former President Bill Clinton; John will be one of the first to perform with Costello on the program. Future guests on the docket include Allen Toussaint, Pat Metheny, and guitarist James Burton, who performed with Elvis Presley; keep an eye on the Sundance Channel for the broadcast schedule...
Monday, July 14, 2008

Razorlight, Will Smith, Annie lennox wish Happy Borthday to Nelson Mandela

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Former South African president Nelson Mandela turned 90 (90!) with a whopper of a celebration in London’s Hyde Park last week, a concert that hosted 50,000 guests, who enjoyed some great music and helped raise funds for Mandela’s charity, 46664 - the charity was named after the number that Mandela was assigned during the 27 years he spent in prison for his stand against South African apartheid. Accompanied by Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, Mandela appeared on stage to address the crowd; the event itself was kicked off by an announcement from actor/musician Will Smith. Other celebs and musicians appearing/performing included Annie Lennox (who also performed at the Free Nelson Mandela Wembley concert 20 years ago), The Sugababes, UK modern rockers Razorlight, Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds, and the Soweto Gospel Choir...
Monday, July 7, 2008

Chemical Brothers dub new 2 disc set Brotherhood

Modern Rock Kristi Kates The Chemical Brothers are dropping a new collection this upcoming September on Astralwerks Records, with the set being led off by the duo’s new single, “Midnight Madness,” which will hit radio in mid-August. The album itself, due on September 2, has been dubbed Brotherhood, and will include two discs, with disc one featuring 13 of the Chems’ electronica hits - among them “Block Rockin’ Beats,” “Setting Sun,” and “Let Forever Be” - while disc two will present nine rare tracks previously released only in limited form. In addition, the Chems are playing a dozen European festival dates over the remainder of this summer...
Monday, June 30, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins Plan Tour/rerelease debut disc

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Smashing Pumpkins, in a recent posting on the band’s official website, have announced that they’ll be releasing a special landmark box set of their 1991 debut album, Gish, some time later this year. SP frontman Billy Corgan didn’t say specifically what will be included in the set (“no one knows for sure,” he wrote), but chances are it will include a good amount of special features, as the band is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. The set’s release date will also reportedly coincide with a Smashing Pumpkins Gish Tour, also set to take place in late 2008...
Between 1991 and 1995, Peter Gabriel held “Recording Week” sessions at his English recording studio, Real World - an ongoing event that’s become somewhat legendary among musicians. Now, those sessions have resulted in a pan-global, musician-filled CD called Big Blue Ball that’s a remarkable overview of world music, featuring a whopping 75 artists from over 20 countries. Produced by Gabriel himself, the disc includes contributions and performances from the likes of Karl Wallinger (World Party/Waterboys), Aussie singer-songwriter Tim Finn, Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys), Sinead O’Connor, guitarist Vernon Reid (Living Colour), flamenco guitarist Juan Canizares, Asian percussionist Joji Hirota, Tanzania’s late music legend Hukwe Zawose - the list goes on and on. The drums are big, the beats are danceable, and the whole project, according to Gabriel, was “the most fun music-making” he’s ever participated in...
Monday, June 23, 2008

Heat, Rain & Kanye disappoint Bonnaroo

Modern Rock Kristi Kates The seventh annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Fest took place last weekend, on 750 acres of farmland near Nashville. The much-anticipated event wasn’t a sellout, probably due in part to high gas prices, and served up a mix of good times and disappointments for festival attendees. Extremely high temperatures alternating with rain made the general outdoor atmosphere less than pleasant, but fans - paying around $210 to $250 for tix - stuck it out to see such bands as Pearl Jam, Widespread Panic, Jack Johnson, Raconteurs, Ben Folds, and Death Cab for Cutie. 158 bands in all were on the Bonnaroo bill, and the fest report stated that there were “fewer arrests and no deaths this year” - er, always a good thing. The biggest fan disappointment, however, occurred when Kanye West moved his show from 8 p.m. to 2:15 a.m. (to better accommodate his “glow in the dark” stage set), and then didn’t even show up on stage until almost 4:30 a.m., leaving fans standing around for over 2 hours, waiting for the prima donna to show up, chanting “Kanye sucks” and throwing glow sticks in the meantime. West didn’t offer an explanation or an apology when he took the stage. Hopefully next year’s Bonnaroo will occur under better circumstances (and with more considerate musicians)...
Monday, June 16, 2008

Grand Rapids outdoor venue opens summer season with Cake

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Grand Rapids Outdoor Venue Opens Summer Season With Cake
The Meijer Gardens concert series in Grand Rapids is up and running again for this year’s summer season, with alt-jazz-pop-soulsters Cake kicking off the modern rock portion of the venue’s schedule as a little different change of pace. That risk was rewarded with a sold-out crowd (in spite of the impending rain) and a terrific show from Cake themselves, including an audience singalong, the donation of a tree to the Gardens from the band, and performances of Cake tunes, both old and new - plus a few surprises. One of those surprises for those unfamiliar with Cake’s eclectic song catalog was probably the opening number, their country-esque cover of a Kenny Rogers song, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” while other songs were more expected (but none less welcome), including the band’s well-played renditions of their own funky hits, “Wheels,” “Never There,” and encore “The Distance.” Now let’s hope that Cake frontman John McCrea doesn’t trade music for farming, as he’s been threatening to do, so that Cake can continue to tour and put on great shows at great venues like this one...
Monday, June 9, 2008

Franz Ferdinand bring African sounds into new album

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Franz Ferdinand Bring African Sounds Into New Album
Scottish modern rockers Franz Ferdinand have been under the radar as of late, but with good reason; they’re about a third of the way through recording their new album, which they say is in part influenced by some African rhythmic influences and melodies of Ethiopia as well as the sounds of American and British ‘60s soul. The album is expected later this year, with the band also expected to preview some of the new songs during their summer festival appearances; one of the completed tracks, “What She Came For,” is currently slated to be the album’s first single...